National Security Studies at Ripon College

Academics | National Security

National Security Studies

Have you ever wanted to work in the government? The diplomatic corps? The private security industry? America’s intelligence agencies? Ripon College is one of the only liberal arts and sciences colleges in America to offer a minor in what is arguably the topic most relevant to those students interested in any of those possibilities: National Security Studies.

National Security Studies is a minor designed to be far more than simply being aware of foreign threats to America’s security. The National Security Studies minor includes classes in foreign policy, terrorism, international relations, comparative religion & ethics, and history, among others.

The minor is designed to educate students well beyond the normal level of international politics, and demands a serious intellectual look at difficult, profound issues. 

The minor reflects the need for experts from all persuasions and all schools of thought. The program is designed to allow each student the opportunity to build her or his own path, regardless of department or major, and – following the liberal arts and sciences theme – diversification is encouraged. Independent study on contemporary issues is the strongest emphasis of the program, and students are expected to produce a professional-level research presentation & briefing by the end of their study in the minor. 


Why National Security?

Some may ask, “Why National Security”? One needs only compare two photographs of New York City. One taken before Sept. 11, 2001, one taken after. 9/11 changed aspects of American politics, world politics and our lives – and the world it has created is the one where today’s students will be the politicians, decision-makers and forces majeures. Tomorrow’s leaders will need to understand everything about the new world 9/11 has created, and that is precisely what the National Security Studies minor instills: knowledge, awareness and understanding of the changes that are shaping our world. The National Security Studies minor prepares students to be informed international citizens for the future.

My experience as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State makes me an ideal resource for matters in the National Security field. “Intro to International Relations”, “U.S. National Security Policy”, “U.S. Foreign Policy” and “Terrorism and Intelligence” are just a few of the classes offered which make up the broad, deep academic inquiry of National Security Studies at Ripon College.

New York City

The end result of the National Security Studies minor is just as diverse and varied as the end result of any liberal arts and sciences education. Should there be students seriously interested in a career in the State Department, CIA or any other branch of the government, the NS minor is an ideal starting point for a rich academic and professional career. If a student is more interested in pursuing a career of public office, the NS minor can provide a background and resource for any who may eventually need to be informed of such affairs while campaigning. Or if a student is merely aware of the fact that international affairs, national security and foreign policy are vitally important for any global citizen and wishes to be informed, the NS minor supplies an excellent amount of information which can be used to further a student’s lifelong passion for learning and understanding.

Ripon College’s National Security Studies minor is the ideal minor for anyone looking to complement a major or to gain a broader perspective of her or his world. Already, NSS minor graduates have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in NS at Georgetown & Texas A&M.



Courses & Requirements

The minor in national security studies provides focused study of national security issues in an interdisciplinary context. It is designed for those students who wish to pursue in–depth study of issues such as security policy, intelligence issues, energy security policy, economic/trade security issues, terrorism, WMD and policy, and politicomilitary affairs. It will also be useful for students interested in professionally related careers in governmental or non–governmental organizations.

National Security Studies Course Guide (PDF)


Lamont Colucci


What can I do with a National Security Studies minor?

An undergraduate focus on National Security Studies rapidly paves the way for graduate programs and careers in law, political science and international affairs.

Alumni of our program are enrolled in a variety of graduate-level programs at some of the nation’s most prestigious research universities, including: Georgetown University, George Washington University, Texas A&M, and the London School of Economics.

Their post-graduate focus has included: Political Management, Security Studies, Law School, International Affairs, and Communication



Ripon College encourages all students to embrace a Four-Year Career Development Plan. This plan is based on the premise that career planning is a development process that involves learning and decision-making over an extended period of time.

First Year

  • Incoming students are assigned a Faculty Mentor based on their interest area(s). Please see the FACULTY tab under your major area;
  • All Freshman are required to enroll in a First-Year Seminar, which is designed as a transition from high school to college learning, providing an interdisciplinary introduction to the liberal arts and the pursuit of in-depth study;
  • Freshman are encouraged to meet the career development staff early on and complete interest and skills inventories, and self-assessment tools; and,
  • Attend the pre-Fall Break “Major Fest” to explore the various major options and career tracks.

Third Year

  • Assume leadership positions in on-campus clubs and organizations;
  • Participate in mock interviews with the Career Development Office;
  • Attend the Wisconsin Foundation of Independent Colleges Job Fair in February and other relevant career fairs;
  • If relevant, begin to research potential graduate school programs and take the appropriate entrance exam(s);
  • Continue to meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor;
  • Continue to build a solid network and a list of work references, and build your resume;
  • Consider off-campus study: Semester and/or alternative Spring Breaks;
  • Continue to job shadow; and,
  • Gain further career experience associated with your education during the academic year and as part of a summer job or internship.

Second Year

  • Get involved with on-campus clubs and organizations, athletic teams and/or intramural sports;
  • Attend the pre-Fall Break “Major Fest” to explore the various major options and career tracks;
  • Declare a major;
  • Meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor or match your interests with a faculty member in your major department. Determine which professors have areas of expertise most similar to your interests. Talk to people in the academic department to find out about faculty research, scholarly, and creative interests;
  • Attend on-campus career workshops;
  • Work with the Career Development Office to create an approved resume;
  • Job shadow people involved in various careers and professions of interest; and,
  • Gain further career experience associated with your education during the academic year and as part of a summer job or internship.

Fourth Year

  • Complete a Senior Capstone/Thesis in your major area(s);
  • Continue to meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor;
  • Perfect your interviewing skills;
  • Expand your existing network of contacts;
  • Finalize your resume and prepare cover letter;
  • Build a credential file in the Career Development Office;
  • Interview with on-campus recruiters;
  • Set-up informational interviews with target companies;
  • If relevant, apply to graduate school programs, and if necessary, re-take entrance exams; and,
  • Practice career goal-setting.